MBA vs PGDM: Key Differences to Know

Updated on 09 May, 2023

If you are considering a career in management, as you research various business schools, you may have come across some offering a PGDM (Post Graduate Diploma in Management) instead of an MBA (Master in Business Administration) degree. This may have left you wondering why some institutions offer a diploma program instead of an MBA degree program and which one you should pursue.

MBA vs PGDM: Which has more value?

Choosing between an MBA or a PGDM can be a tough decision for students looking to pursue higher education in the field of management. The major difference between the two is that PGDM does not replace MBA degrees since they differ greatly in their scope of the study. Graduate certificates frequently emphasise honing a particular set of skills, whereas degrees offer a well-rounded foundation in a topic or field.

MBA vs PGDM: Which one should you choose?

However, there are some key differences between the two that students must consider before making their decision:

MBA vs PGDM: Curriculum

One of the primary differences between MBA and PGDM programs is the type of institutions that offer them. MBA programs are predominantly offered by universities and colleges. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in the academic year 2020-2021, there were 1,292 institutions that offered MBA programs in the United States. PGDM programs, on the other hand, are typically offered by autonomous institutions, such as business schools. According to the same NCES report, there were only 194 institutions that offered non-degree-granting business and management programs in the academic year 2020-2021.

Another key difference between the two programs is the curriculum. According to the NCES report, MBA programs usually have a broader curriculum covering a wide range of business topics, such as finance, accounting, marketing, and human resources. PGDM programs, on the other hand, tend to have a more specialized curriculum that focuses on specific areas of business, such as entrepreneurship, international business, and healthcare management.

PGDM programs have the flexibility to modify their curriculum in response to evolving business needs and industry trends. This enables them to promptly integrate new models, tools, and technologies and provide state-of-the-art education to their students. Typically, universities offering MBAs undertake such revisions every three to five years.

MBA vs PGDM: Duration

When it comes to duration, MBA programs are typically longer than PGDM programs. According to the NCES report, MBA programs in the United States usually last for two years, while PGDM programs generally last for one year.

High feeLow fee
Broad curriculumLimited curriculum
Require work experienceDo not require work experience
Offered by universities and collegesOffered by standalone Business schools

MBA vs PGDM: Admissions Requirements 

When it comes to admissions, both MBA and PGDM programs have their own set of requirements. MBA programs typically require applicants to have a bachelor's degree, work experience, and a good GMAT or GRE score. PGDM programs, on the other hand, may not require work experience, but they may require applicants to take an entrance exam, such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

MBA vs PGDM: Fees Comparison

The average cost of tuition and fees for a full-time MBA program in the United States is $60,748 -$75,000 per year. However, this is just an average, and some MBA programs can cost much more, with some of the top-tier MBA programs charging more than $100,000 per year whereas PGDM is cheaper as the average cost of tuition and fees for a diploma program in the United States is $31,439 per year.


Both MBA and PGDM programs offer specializations in various areas of management such as:

Specialization in MBASpecialization in PGDM
·         Finance·         Business Analytics
·         Marketing·         Digital Marketing
·         Human Resources·         Hospitality Management
·         Operations·         Supply Chain Management
·         International Business·         Media and Communication
·         Entrepreneurship·         Retail Management
·         Healthcare Management·         Family Business Management
·         Information Technology·         Energy Management
·         Real Estate·         Operations Research

However, PGDM programs offer a wider range of specializations compared to MBA programs. This is because PGDM programs are designed by autonomous institutions and have the flexibility to offer specializations based on industry demands.


Placements are an important factor to consider when choosing between an MBA and PGDM program. Both programs offer good placement opportunities to students. However, the placement process and package offered may vary depending on the institute and the program. According to a Payscale, the average base salary offered to MBA in the USA is USD 95,000  per annum, while the average placement package offered to PGDM graduates in the USA is USD 61,000 per annum.

Job Prospects:

Both MBA and PGDM programs are well-known among employers in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that jobs in management, which include business and finance, are expected to increase by 5% between 2019 and 2029. The BLS also notes that many management jobs require a master's degree in business administration (MBA) or something similar, which can sometimes be used in place of work experience.


In conclusion, both MBA and PGDM programs offer excellent opportunities for students to pursue a career in management. However, MBA or PGDM, which has more value? The choice between the two depends on the individual's needs and goals. MBA programs are more theoretical and offer a fixed curriculum, while PGDM programs are more practical and offer a flexible curriculum. Therefore, students should carefully evaluate the differences between the two programs and choose the one that best suits their needs and goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an MBA better than a PGDM?

An MBA opens access to higher-level leadership roles and higher salaries in addition to making one a more knowledgeable and competent manager. Graduates of the PGDM program can look forward to having the same earning potential as standard MBA graduates because the diploma has equal value.

Is PGDM equivalent to MBA?

It cannot be said that a PGDM is totally equivalent to an MBA degree because a PGDM is a diploma program whereas an MBA is a degree programme. Nonetheless, the MBA and PGDM are generally comparable in terms of key courses, curriculum, training, and market value.

Is an MBA the most prestigious degree?

Research continues to indicate that those with an MBA make more money than those with just a bachelor's degree. It is one of the most sought-after degrees in the world for the prospects it offers. 

Shivangi Mishra

She is an experienced writer and journalist who has extensively covered the education sector in India and Abroad. Now helping Indian aspirants realise their foreign education dream by providing them with relevant content and information through upGrad Abroad. Amateur traveller, loves to read Architectural Digest!

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